Speaking at the prestigious Herzliya Conference on Wednesday, US Ambassador to Israel
reinforced the importance of the world seeing that the US relationship with Israel is as deep as ever and one that nothing will break.
Discussing the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama
he noted: "A lot of Israelis are touched. The US President is a big deal. You can see it on the Embassy's Facebook page. Thousands of Israelis are competing for a ticket to Jerusalem."
Shapiro continued by explaining Israel and the US relationship based on their shared values and principles, especially security wise, but did not add to what President Obama's plans
are for when he is here, except for the two state solution, since that is always on the agenda.
Addressing the touchy subject of Jonathan Pollard,
Shapiro said “I’m aware that this is a matter that many Israelis want to solve,” Shapiro said. “There are voices in the United States that aggressively oppose it, because of what he did. I do not know what will happen, but I do not expect any announcements about this during the visit.”
Also speaking at panel titled "Ahead of President Obama's visit to Israel: US-Israel Relations- Quo Vaids?" Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, Former US Undersecretary of Defense said, "The number one priority is to make sure that Israel does not attack Iran."
He explained that there is a misconception in the world that the US is withdrawing from external affairs. "It is of the utmost importance that is perception is changed; especially Israel's perception. If Israel thinks this is so, they will take actions without consulting the US.
"The President is the only person who can dispel this perception that the US is withdrawing; this is why this visit is so important as it will reaffirm US involvement and discussions can move forward on preventing the development of nuclear weapons," Zakheim added.
As the discussion continued on Iran,
other challenges raised are the instability of the Middle East, the current status of Syria,
and the Two State Solution.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon discussed the importance of perception and action that follows a perception. "Ambassador Shapiro is trying to lower the expectations (of President Obama's visit) and rightfully so, but I think it would be a missed opportunity if these things (Iranian development of nuclear weapons and Syria) are not discussed.
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